Chicken!

Why didn’t anybody tell me?

Long-time readers know of my love of Alton Brown and his TV shows. Some may even recall my sorrow three years ago when Cutthroat Kitchen went off the air.

At the time, Alton was talking up his plans for a Good Eats successor. It was supposed to be an online-only show and would tackle subjects the original wasn’t allowed to address.

As best I can tell, that show never happened.

And then. A couple of days ago, Maggie and I were watching Kids Baking Challenge and a little blurb popped up in the corner of the screen. This is something Food Network does with great regularity, and it never fails to annoy me. Normally I do my best to ignore such mini-ads, but this one caught my eye. “Up Next: Good Eats Reloaded

Picture my face with exclamation points replacing my eyes.

On second thought, don’t. That’s a rather creepy image. But you get the idea.

It turns out that Food Network has been running these shows for the past year or so, and I completely missed it. They’re not new content either. They’re reworked and updated versions of some of the original Good Eats episodes.

We’ve seen two of them so far (or most of two of them: Sling’s DVR functionality has issues). Updates on broth are well and good, but the updated pasta show may be useful, given the amount of noodles we go through.

But the really good news is the reason Food Network moved Good Eats Reloaded to a better time slot: Good Eats: The Return is coming. Three weeks from today, in fact. Not quite close enough to set the DVR, but near enough to smell the garlic.

The blurb on Food Network’s website sounds a lot like what Alton was talking about for the never-happened online-only show.

I can’t wait. Well, I can–I have too–but I can’t wait patiently.

To celebrate, I’m going to do something I haven’t done for a while: post a recipe.

As with most recipes I post, it’s not a family recipe or something original. Credit where credit is due: this is stolen and modified from Sara Welch’s Slow Cooker Whole Chicken as posted on “Dinner at the Zoo”.

We’re suckers for crockpot cookery, especially recipes that require very little actual effort. If we can throw some stuff together, turn on the pot, and go to work, we’re in. When we saw this one claimed a five minute prep time, we had to try it.

And, of course, we had to tweak it a bit to our tastes.

Ingredients

  • One five pound whole chicken. Note: a bird this size fits almost perfectly into a three quart slow cooker.
  • Your favorite spice rub. Sara’s suggested mix is tasty, and does largely replicate the flavor of a store-bought rotisserie chicken. But it does require a minute–maybe even ninety seconds–to assemble. We’ve had good results with commercial BBQ rubs. Laziness FTW!
  • 4-6 small potatoes, washed. Keep ’em whole; you don’t want them to cook too quickly.

Steps

  1. Spray the inside of the cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Place the potatoes on the bottom of the cooker. They’re going to serve as your rack so the chicken doesn’t get submerged in its own juices. Soggy chicken is no fun.
  3. Rub your spice mix all over the bird. Be generous. And don’t forget to rub some inside the body cavity.
  4. Put the chicken into the pot on top of the potatoes, put on the lid, and turn the cooker on on High.
  5. After one hour, turn the cooker down to Low.
  6. Ignore it for at least five hours. We’ve gone as long as ten without harm to the result. Be safe: if you’re not letting it cook all day, use a meat thermometer to confirm the thickest part of the thigh has hit at least 165.
  7. Crispy skin is a must. Put the chicken in a baking dish and shove it under your broiler for five minutes.

Yes, you do serve the potatoes too. Why wouldn’t you? They’ve soaked up plenty of chickeny goodness. And save the liquid that’s accumulated at the bottom of the cooker. It freezes well and makes a great base for soups and stews.

Uh-Oh

It seems that Cutthroat Kitchen is winding down. Only five unaired episodes have been announced, with the last scheduled for November 30. More to the point, while Food Network hasn’t made an official announcement, host Alton Brown has said he wants to take a break from being a game show host. (Check around the fifteen minute mark for his apology.) And, of course, he wants to devote his attention to a new show.

This is a problem for me.

Remember, the World Series will–barring weather interference–end tonight or tomorrow. No more baseball until Spring. Without Cutthroat Kitchen, my off-season TV viewing choices have been trimmed by a third. I’m going to have to scramble to find something to exercise to, as well as something entertaining to accompany Sunday dessert.

I’m sure something will turn up. If I find something good, rather than something totally mindless, I’ll let you know.

No, not the new show. Which will be Internet-only and called A Cooking Show. I plan to watch, but it sounds like it won’t be starting until after baseball returns. Not much help for the long, cold season ahead.

The new show, for those of you who didn’t watch the video, will be in the same vein as the late-lamented Good Eats. Lest we forget, that was the show that made Alton’s name. But, as he says, there were certain subjects Food Network wouldn’t let him do. Rabbit, liver, gizzards, and venison were early mentions on the list. Later in the video, he mentions sous vide cooking, a cheap homebrew mechanism to roast a whole pig in your back yard, and authentic German pretzels as things Food Network explicitly turned down.

Sounds like it’ll be at least as entertaining as the original Good Eats. But not until next year.

And, in the mean time, we’ve still got at least eight and a half innings of Cubs/Indians.